Racing Adventures by Frog and Field
MabDab, affectionately known as Nelson is a relatively new addition to the yard. I had no other commitments and so in a rather bleak and wet morning I trundled of to Lingfield Park. I thought you may like to hear about what goes on behind the scenes when a horse runs.
Firstly, there is obviously a lot of prep work, that’s where Linda and Karen come in. Planning the regime and the schedule. Selecting a race and wrong towards it. Figuring out what distance they would like to run over. This is how far their ‘trip’ is. For some horses they like a short fast pace but for others they prefer a longer pace. Think of it like marathon running opposed to a 100 m sprint. There is a whole lot in between too, like the 400m or the 800m. Some horses are slow and steady, others fast but can’t maintain it for a long distance.
MabDab seems to be a marathon runner and it is looking likely he will go jumping. So run over fences. This race was a flat race, but a long flat race. Fondly known as ‘bumpers’ they give the youngsters a chance to stretch their legs and get used to the hustle and bustle of racing. Horses cannot do an infinite amount of these races.
So MabDab was boxed up to Lingfield and arrived a couple of horse before he was due to run. This gives his legs a chance to rest and recover. Unfortunately, horses can’t sit and rest up on their way there. He was accompanied by Alex and Karen. Alex is a work rider at Linda’s and so has a good relationship with Nelson. Typically, lads or lasses will have their own horses they will ride and groom. So they will normally accompany their partner to their big day out.
The horses travel with their own passports, even if they aren’t going abroad! On arrival the Stable yard staff will scan the horse for its microchip and check it against the passport. This makes sure there are no imposters in the yard. Equally all humans also have to be checked and carry what’s known as a Stable pass. A form of ID that is applied for by the trainer. This means all horses and humans can be tracked in and out of the yard.
Once MabDab (Nelson) was all settled he would have to be declared. So the racecourse knew he was there and able to run. The next couple of hours are normally spent getting a bite to eat and prepping for the race. So tack must be cleaned, manes plaited and horse groomed. The colours you see Jockeys wearing are kept by the trainer and these need to be passed onto the jockey. The horse’s bridles are placed on them in the yard and then the horses are walked down to the Pre-Parade Ring.
All the humans being led by the racehorses are given a number, the number in the racing card, which is then displayed. This means the runners are easily identified whilst they are limbering up in the Pre-Parade Ring
Hope you enjoyed the first installment
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